Hardwood floor refinishing – Frequently asked questions – Westchester County
Q. How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors from start to finish?
This depends on what type of polyurethane you are using -oil based or water based. Oil based tends to take longer – often 3-4 days plus drying time (longer if for larger jobs) and water based tends to dry faster, so it’s often 2 days (longer for larger jobs). Click here for a full explanation on how long does it take to refinish hardwood floors? Click here for a full explanation on water vs oil based polyurethane.
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Q. What if my hardwood floors are currently covered with carpet, vinyl, tile or laminate?
We will remove and haul away flooring materials that are currently on top your hardwood as well as prep and/or repair the exposed hardwood floor for restoration. Some of our Westchester customers prefer to do this work themselves; others prefer that we do this work.
Q. Is there a lot of dust when sanding the floors?
Yes, the process is a bit messy, and we ofter 2 solutions. First, with our standard process, the dust goes into a vacuum bag, and we vacuum between each coat as well as add plastic to all areas not being done. Second, we do offer a dust extraction system with a vacuum suction tube so the dust goes straight outside into the dust containment system. While no process is 100% dustless, it does take care of 90-95% of the dust. To read more about dustless sanding vs sandless refinishing click here.
Q. Can you change the color of the hardwood?
Yes, you can go from light to dark, or dark to light or anywhere in between. Click here for a full explanation: Can you change the color of your hardwood flooring and how the process works. And, click here to see Hardwood flooring stain trends to see which colors are most in style for Westchester County.
Q. What if we have pet stains on the floor?
We come across this often. If you have some areas that have pet stains or water damage (i.e. they have turned black), then the best thing to do is replace those hardwood boards and weave in. If you have oak flooring, this is usually fairly simple to do (assuming you have a professional do the work – it’s important to match the species of oak as well as grade and important to have someone with the skills to properly weave it in). From there, after you sand and refinish, the floors should integrate well and look seamless. This does cost a bit extra for labor and materials, but it is usually the better way to go (unless you hardwood is very old and/or very difficult to match). Alternatively, you could choose a darker stain to cover up the darker portions of the hardwood.
Q. What if there is damage to the floor or sections where hardwood is missing?
See above…this is usually very solvable as we can usually weave in additional wood, especially if you have oak flooring.
Q. Will I need to move my furniture?
Some of our customers prefer to move the furniture themselves; others prefer that we do the moving. It is up to you. We are happy to help either way.
Q. Where do I store my furniture?
Most of our customers use other parts of their home – areas that may have tile or carpet. Sometimes, we can move it to the basement or garage. Sometimes, we can do the job in 2 phases to accommodate space for the furniture. A few of our customers use a storage container (such as PODS).
Q. When can we walk on the floors?
On average, you can walk on the floors approximately 24 hours after the application of the final coat. We recommend that for hours 24-48 that you wear socks only – no shoes, no bare feet. Click here for more info on How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors.
Q. When can our pets walk on the floor?
It’s best to wait two days before pets walk on the floors.
Q. When can we put our area rugs back down on the floor?
We recommend that you wait 4 weeks after the job is complete before putting area rugs back in place. This allows adequate time for the floors to cure.
Q. How long will the finish last?
The lifestyle of the home determines how long the finish will last. With regular maintenance cleaning, a floor finish can last many years., often 7-10 yrs. When the finish becomes dull there are several professional service maintenance methods, such as a screen and recoat (see below) which can available to restore the luster without sanding. Also, click here for tips on How to prevent scratches on your hardwood floors.
Q. What is a Screen and Recoat? What is floor buffing? Would that work for my floors?
A screen and recoat is synonym for floor buffing. It’s a non-invasive method where you buff/abrade the hardwood floors so that you can add an extra coat of polyurethane. It allows you to add sheen to floor and an extra layer of protection. It works if your floors are in good condition from a color perspective. It will not solve scratches through the color, but if your floors are in good shape, it will protect the color longer. It’s an affordable cosmetic maintenance method that isn’t messy. You have the option of making the floors shinier or less shiny – you can choose from matte, satin, semi-gloss or glossy finishes. Read more here: What is a screen and recoat?
Q. Do I have to move all my furniture out for a screen and recoat?
Yes. See above.
Q. How can I tell if my floors need a screen and recoat rather than a complete refinishing?
A screen and recoat is a cosmetic method that adds a clear coat of poly. Not all floor conditions are candidates for this process. Floors should be in a decent condition with the existing color in good shape. It will take care of minor scratches and dullness; it will not solve deep gauges nor scratches in the color.
Q. Is there a lot of dust with the a screen and recoat?
A screen and recoat is pretty clean process. The floors are NOT sanded; rather they are just lightly buffed to abrade the existing finish allowing additional coats of finish to adhere. This gives your floor added protection and sheen.
Q. How long does a Screen and recoat take?
Most jobs only take one day to complete, but it ultimately depends on the size and scope of the job.
Q. How many coats of finish are applied and is it water or oil based?
Usually, we add 1 coat of polyurethane, but occasionally, customers would prefer 2 coats, especially if it’s a heavy traffic area such as a kitchen. You may choose from 4 sheen levels: Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin and Matte. Currently, satin is the most popular sheen.
Q. Can you refinish pine floors? How about pine steps?
Usually you can refinish pine floors, provided that they are in relatively good condition and thick enough to refinish. They will often be a slightly different color vs. oak flooring as the wood species and graining are different and they absorb stains differently. You can read more about this here. Can you refinish pine floors?
Q. How long after service can I walk on the floors?
Usually, you can walk on the floors approximately 24 hours after the job is complete.
Q: What advice do you have to prolong the finish on hardwood floors?
The best piece of advice I can give you is to take your shoes off while inside. It is amazing what a big impact this can have. Also, it’s important to use felt pads underneath furniture (especially chairs) and entry mats at the doorways. Click here for more advice on How to prevent scratches on your hardwood floors.
Q: Can plastic tips on my chairs prevent scuff marks on my floors?
Industry experts say that felt tips on chairs are a better option than plastic tips, which can mark floors. Also, we recommend that you stay away from rolling chairs as these tend to do a lot of damage to hardwood floors.
If you live in Westchester County NY, I offer color consultations to advise customers on paint colors and stain choices. My designer discount at the paint stores usually more than offsets the cost for the hour consultation. Read more here. Due to popular demand, I’m now offering phone consultations as well.
I wrote this e-book to help new home buyers make smart decisions when looking for homes with hardwood floors…or looking to buy a home and then add hardwood. I’ve packaged all of my best tips into this book and hope it will help you make smarter choices in your flooring choices and in buying a home that can support high quality floors.
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Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors, whether they are solid or engineered
FAQ’s for Hardwood floor refinishing – Frequently asked questions – Westchester County